15 February 2010

Duck, Duck, Goose?

Actually, I am thinking chickens, but ducks and geese could be included in this discussion.

We have been thinking about chickens (the back-yard variety) for some time (pretty much ever since we moved in here).

As we get closer and closer to making a final decision, I decided to re-check the laws. I know City of Victoria allows urban chickens and I know there are no roosters allowed. I thought there was a limit of 10 but now I can't find any reference to any limit.

The city bylaw on Animal Control states:

37. No person shall own, harbour or keep any farm animal or rooster within the City of Victoria.

where "farm animal" is earlier defined as "any domesticated animal normally raised for food, milk or beast of burden and includes cattle, horses, swine, sheep, goats, mules, donkeys, asses and oxen;" -- i.e. excluding poultry.

It also says owners are not to allow their animals to be on any private property other than their own (e.g. your neighbour's flower bed).

I've been through other possible by-laws that might mention the issue and found nothing more. No limit, nothing about structures to house them -- heck it doesn't even preclude keeping them inside one's home. (I would not keep them inside -- eeek and eww.)

Surf over to Victoria Animal Control Services however, and you can read this (if you scroll waaaaay down to the Bylaw Regulations section):

"Farm Animals are prohibited with the exception of chickens, ducks & geese. These fowl can only be kept as pets or for personal egg consumption. Eggs cannot be sold or advertised for sale. Excessive numbers of fowl will bring into question intended use. Roosters are prohibited. If you are thinking about keeping chickens call us and we will tell you the issues and potential problems to avoid. Potbellied pigs are considered Farm Animals regardless of where they are kept (indoors or outdoors)."

I'd sure like to find actual By-laws that state anything about the fact that excess eggs cannot be sold and what exactly an excessive number might be. I'm not even thinking that we would likely come up against any of these issues but I would like to know exactly what limitations are, within the law.

Laws aside, we do have to ponder how to house them, how to deal with potential rodent and predator problems, and what to do when the hens stop laying. For housing, I am partial to the Eglu Cube by Omlet but Hubby is prepared to build a DIY variation. I still don't know if there is a "season" for buying new hens. I kind of suspect there is. Sigh. At least Kiddo is reading Storey's Guide to Raising Poultry that I borrowed from the library. Maybe she can fill us in on the details.

[photo by sarniebill1 on Flickr.]


Anne said...


I'm not sure they'd allow chickens where I live. I love that Eglu shelter - looks very portable and chicken tractor-ish!

rscrvc said...

Do check and see whether anyone has been cited in your area for violations, and without an ordinance behind them, Animal Control generally can't make up limits or prohibitions.

Good luck, and many hatcheries mail birds- check MyPetChicken.com- they use outside hatcheries and will send small numbers of chicks. I believe they may have a Canadian connection to serve you.